Things to do in Londontown when you are Dead
July 18, 2009 2325 hours
Life always seems better in London. Don't know why. Maybe it's the air. or the weather. or the underground. or the general attitude. But things were looking up. Took the Easy Bus into the city. Bless the Easy Bus. £18 for two people from Stansted to Victoria. A nice leisurely van ride into the city. I got to see parts of London I never would. Why bother. Everything I need is in Surray Quays. I've no call to go any where else. But the bus ride even had me going ooooohhhhhh and aaaaahhhhhh LOL
My partner in crime hadn't been to London since she was a small lass. I had until 0300 to show her a good time. What to do in London when you've only got 14 hours to do it?
We dropped our bags off at the Excess Baggage department in Victoria. These are awesome places - they've replaced the lockers you used to see in airports, train and bus depos. London has them in Victoria, Kings Cross, Euston, Lilverpool Street, Paddington, Waterloo and both Gatwick and Heathrow airports. For less than £8 per 24 hours, your luggage is stored quite safely. Keep in mind, they do close at 2300 hours, so If you've an early flight, you'd best pick up the baggage before eleven. They open at 0700.
From there we walked out of Victoria and into a brand new day LOL. I confessed to my mate that in 19 years, I'd never been to Trafalgar Square. She balked. Then we walked! LOL Walked by Buckingham Palace. It's surrounded by tourists. The flag was flying and I was informed that that means the Queen is in residence. I wonder if she'd have us to tea? We took some lovely touristy photos. My favourite was, of course, the statue to me! It's not quite a perfect likeness, I'm not as jowly. yet... LOL Then proceeded to Trafalgar. It's small. Quite small. I don't know why, but I had envisioned it to be a large square type deal yo. It was more of a small square type deal. Not as impressive. I'm like - this is where they show movies? and have opera outdoors? hmmmmmm OK.
I get discombobulated above ground. Even tho we were on Charing Cross Road, I could NOT for the life of me figure out how to get to Mocha Cafe - on Charing Cross Road - not a mile away! Maybe it was lack of sleep. Maybe it was the dreaded sunlight. I don't know. But I got "lost". I had to retreat, like a true tube rat, to the underground. Much more safe. LOL Mocha Cafe, here we come!
You've heard me tout the excellence that is Mocha Cafe in my blogs from last year. But here it is again, because it bears repeating. Mocha Cafe is right off the Leicester Square tube line. Once you exit on Charing Cross Rd, turn left, cross street, pass chinese food resturants, look for sign touting internet service. Go in! LOL You are greeted by the best pastry's ever. They also have ice cream. AND sandwiches. You can have a lovely meal for about a fiver.
Internet - if you just want to sit at a computer and plug in, as it were, head upstairs. It's a pound an hour. Can't beat the price. If you've your own laptop, you can enjoy free wi-fi as long as you spend five quid on food. It's easy to do. Just have a breakfast, or tea, or coffee or chocolate fudge cake or the devilish chocolate cake or a sandwich.
Back outside to blue sky, white fluffy clouds. It's well after 8 pm! Decided to head toward Picadilly and people watch. The diversity was lovely: so many colours and languages and shoes! Yes, shoes!!!! There were women roaming around the streets in six inch stilleto heels! It was amazing. Apparently we did NOT get the foot wear memo as we are in hiking boots and doc martins. LOL We walked from Picadilly back to the Thames to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment. Sauntering down Regent Street we found some groovy shoe stores that specialized in instruments of foot torture. We also passed a Molton Brown store, much to my delight. This meant I didn't have to fight the throngs of Covent Garden zombie shoppers to get my smell goods! By the time we hit the next tube stop - Oxford Square, we realized we were walking in the wrong direction! We were heading AWAY from the water and not CLOSER! LOL Oh well!
We hopped on the brown line and headed south. Got off at Embankment and walked over the Thames. Mind you - I had NEVER done this before. Really. Never. Night was finally falling and the lights were flickering like starlight. You could hear the party boats blasting techno in the distance. I became OCD photographer trying to the "the shot". Big Ben mocked me. The only pictures he'd pose for are the ones with the fish lanterns in the foreground. I monkey around with the setting but to no avail. No Fish. No Ben. We walked past the aquarium and the gi-normous ferris wheel. We crossed back to the north side of the river next to Parliament and Big Ben.
Once across, I got some beautifully haunting shots of the Abbey. Found another Molton Brown on Victoria Road. Collected our luggage. Time to chill.
MEMO TO TRAVELERS: It's well past 2100 hours and one the Boots is still open. We were a bit famished from the walking and in need of sustenance. The Boots closes at 2200. They have sandwiches there all day long. But - at about 2130 - 2150 they mark the prices of the sandwiches down to 75p from £2.30. These are FRESH sandwiches that have to be sold that day. I recommend the "roast chicken and stuffing". It's chicken chunks with pork stuffing and cracked black pepper with a hint of mayonnaise on malted bread with seeds. The peppery flavour permeates the sandwich. The malt bread is soft and dark and nutty.